It was 4am. Much, much too early to be awake. Maybe if you’re a truck driver or cop or a baker this is normal, but for me it is when I am supposed to be deep asleep. But there l lay in my bed – 4am – awake. I was right at that point of in-between. You know, that point in between awake and sleep. That point where I can decide to wake up or drift back to sleep. And as I lay there considering which way to go, this nagging thought begins to rise into my awakening consciousness: “Write this down.” It just kept running through my mind. And, I’ve learned to pay attention to it. It is usually God. ** Click to see what I wrote down
Then begins the dance. Maybe you’ve experienced this, too. I begin to question
God. “God its 4am! Can’t this wait until later!?” (And I’ve learned this, too – it can’t.) “I’ll surely remember this after I wake up.” If I had to put a number to it, I’d say 99%. Yes, 99% of the time I’ve had an inspired, early morning thought or idea, and I try to let it wait until later, it disappears. And so, my series of questions to God are met with what you’d expect to hear from someone who doesn’t want you to lose something special. He wasn’t going to give up easily — awakening the desires He hides inside us is essential to finding life.
This all started with a dream. When I awoke at 4am I thought, “Wow, that was cool. That would make a good movie.” And I felt God ask me, Why don’t you write it? – What me? I can’t write a movie. – Ok, a book then? – I can’t write a book. – Ok, what about a Short Story? – Hmmm. Maybe. I think I could write a short story. But, its 4am! I have to work in the morning, I don’t have the time or the energy to spend hours writing a Short Story of all things. – What if you could write it all in one sitting? Would you get up and write it if I could help you write it all at one time? – Yes. – Then will you trust me to get up and do it, now? – Yes. (Oh how good is the patience and playfulness of God.)
It’s as if I awoke with the map to some buried treasure etched into my consciousness. (And who would want to lose that?!) But at 4am, it still felt unreal. It didn’t feel true. It didn’t feel possible. Then a thought comes to me, “Every good song must be written down.” In other words, when a flash of inspiration hits a songwriter, they must capture it immediately. The lyric must be jotted down. They find a napkin or a matchbox cover or the back of a receipt. And the melody, it must be notated or recorded, hummed into a voice memo or left as a voicemail to themselves. Songwriters know that to neglect this flash of inspiration is to lose the song.
“I wake up from dreams and go, ‘Wow, put this down on paper.’ You hear the words; everything is there in front of your face… That’s why I hate to take credit for songs I’ve written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world.” ~ Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone Interview
- Put a pad of paper and a couple of pens by your bed. (In my nightstand, within arms reach, I keep a notepad with a pen on top of it and always have a clean page on top. Even in the dark, I scribble barely intelligible thoughts and ideas that I can revisit later.)
- Begin to notice the pauses. Throughout your day, when you catch yourself saying, “Hm”, “Huh?”, “Interesting”, these are pauses. They are cues that a thought wants to be explored.
- Give space to the thoughts wanting to be explored. Even if only for a few seconds, linger on the thought. See where it leads.
- Don’t edit your thoughts right away. It stifles. (I write about this more in “Taking Time to Dream” Part 1 and Part 2.)
- Allow yourself to ask, “What if…?” (I write more about this in “One of the MOST Powerful Questions…“)
Are you willing to begin to let your hidden desires wake you at unexpected times? Willing to see what happens if you do?
Learning to wake up to the desires placed inside,
Before you jump to it, let me tell you a couple of things about it.
And by the way — this post (Bringing Our Unique Self to the Surface) about my Short Story… it was written at 6am on Saturday morning. Awakened again! 🙂